Everything's Better with Samurai
"Hey, That's not fair! How come he gets to be a samurai? That's so much cooler!"The tendency of some writers to just throw in a samurai for the heck of it, even in modern urban Japan or a western world without a Japanese Counterpart Culture. And also the fact that people tend to dig the samurai. Who doesn't dig Sanger? This is NOT the same as Katanas Are Just Better, this refers to samurai, even when they appear without katana (Sanjuro, for instance). Rule of Cool may be responsible... See also Wutai, Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja, Samurai Cowboy.
— Odd Della Robbia, Code Lyoko prequel "XANA Awakens"
open/close all folders
- This 90s commercial for Murphy's stout had a group of samurai ride into an Irish village pub and order Murphy's. With the unorthodox way of drinking the from bottle and the theme tune from Yojimbo, never before or since has drinking a bottle of stout look so badass.
Anime & Manga
- Meta Knight in Kirby's anime of the game would talk about Musou ("peerlessness"). One time he stands to fight for Kirby, declaring I WILL BE YOUR OPPONENT as leaves blow by.
- Twilight Suzuka in Outlaw Star. Slightly less out-of-nowhere, at least in that it's no stranger than the Chinese Magic-using Space Pirates they already introduced.
- Hatsu from Tower of God, obsessed with honor, glory and halbok, the Korean variant of Seppuku, and Dual Wielding Katana.
- Mr. Bushido in Gundam 00 — who is actually American (although both America and Japan are technically part of the same country in 00's superbloc-dominated future). Additional to it, a samurai mobile suit. 3, in fact.
- The Halo Legends short "The Duel" shows the Elites wearing samurai clothes when not in combat, and The Dragon is even dressed in full samurai-esque armor (he's also the only Elite to use a metal sword instead of an energy one). Despite the artistic license, Elite culture does canonically have similarities to that of feudal Japan.
- Toudoh in Code Geass is another future samurai.
- In Fairy Tail, Erza Scarlet occasionally goes into a samurai get-up (albeit a revealing one).
- The second arc of New Getter Robo which has the characters get stuck in an alternate-universe Heian Japan, just to fit armies of samurai into a Humongous Mecha anime.
- Setsuna of Mahou Sensei Negima!, a half-bird demon, Demon Slaying, lesbian-in-denial Samurai in an Urban Fantasy. Also one of the most popular characters in the series, whose prominence was quickly raised after her introduction in the fourth volume.
- Lyrical Nanoha
- Signum from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's and onward obstinately calls herself a "knight", whereas her warrior code (not to mention her fighting style) is obviously based off the samurai. But then again, most Japanese writers confuse the two at least somewhat.
- Micaiah Chevelle of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid is an even straighter example. She's a Mid-Childan who's also a traditional samurai, complete with katana, dojo, Japanese attire, and an Iaijutsu fighting style. Fans were quick to dub her as Signum Mk II. A bit of a surprise, what with Mid-Childa being an alien world with a European-like society.
- In Naruto, the Land of Iron has samurai, instead of the ninja in Hidden Villages most other nations rely on. For added goodness, in relation to trope picture, the regular samurai of the Land of Iron wear armor similar to the Stormtroopers.
- The episode "Challenge of the Samurai".
- Oshawott/Mijumaru and Dewott/Futachimaru, who have both appeared in the anime as of the latest episode in Japan, have their origins in samurai. (More blatant in Dewott than in Oshawott, though) Ash even gets an Oshawott of his own. Fans are hoping it will finally avert the trend of water-type starters Ash owns never evolving.
- Even the final evolution to this line, Samurott/Daikenki, is based off a samurai, though they has the capacity to dual wield the seamitars, and spend most of their time as quadrupedal Pokemon.
- Lupin III creator Monkey Punch wanted a more Japanese character for his ensemble. Enter Goemon Ishikawa XIII...
- Digimon has several notable examples, including the most well-known one, Musyamon/Mushamon. Other examples include Yashamon, one of V-mon's armor evolutions, Zanbamon, a Ultimate/Mega level digimon whose lower body is a war horse, Tactimon from Digimon Xros Wars, and Gaioumon, who is a samurai Greymon.
- Samurai Ryuma in One Piece, for anyone who's ever wanted a duel between a pirate and a samurai.
- Not to mention Zoro himself.
- From The Seven Deadly Sins, there is Simon who is a samurai themed knight in an otherwise King Arthur based manga.
- Masamunya◊ from The Gothic World of Nyanpire is a cat and also a Samurai and carries a sharp sword. He has a secret crush on Nyanpire but is too shy to admit it to him. However even though he's a samurai, he barely uses his sword besides being threatening.◊
- The French series Chroniques de la Lune Noire (Black Moon Chronicles) has the character of Murata, a samurai in an otherwise western fantasy setting. Since it is based on an old D&D campaign, you can blame the Oriental Adventures on this.
- Frank Miller loves this trope.
- The Tick comics have Paul the Samurai, despite all the other heroes being over the top cape and cowl style. His primary role is to be there to recommend that he and anybody associated with him commits seppuku at the slightest failure.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: While the Shredder is actually a ninja, his shiny armor is samurai-inspired. His conflict with the turtles thus provides a visual analogue to the (alleged) viciousness between samurai and ninjas. (In reality, more samurai hired ninja than they cared to admit.)
- Hondo City Judges in Judge Dredd are deliberately modelled on samurai; their equivalent of the Chief Judge is even referred to as the Shogun.
- Teen Titans introduced Bushido, a young warrior with... well, powers of the samurai, apparently. He was among the fatalities in Comic Book Infinite Crisis.
- Batman's original Outsiders team had fairly standard-issue superheroes... and Katana, a steely-eyed female samurai.
- Silver Samurai
Films — Animation
- In Epic the Leafmen's armor seems to draw a lot of inspiration from the samurai. Referenced with Ronin's name. His helmet is also an obvious tribute to Date Masamune.
- Gisaku is an animated film set nearly entirely in Spain and constantly tells the viewers how awesome Spain is. And yet it has a samurai as protagonist.
Films — Live-Action
- In Brazil, Sam's later Dream Sequences have him fighting a samurai. Apparently, "samurai" is supposed to be a Stealth Pun.
- Red Sun is a western with a samurai thrown in. Better than it sounds. Considering who plays the samurai (Toshiro Mifune), it should be.
- Six String Samurai is an epic After the End tale where the King, Elvis Presley, has died, and samurai Buddy Holly travels to "Lost Vegas" to take his place. Standing in his way are Bowlers, Communists, and the Grim Reaper aka Slash from Guns N' Roses.
- Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai is a film revolving around an African-American assassin who follows the Code of the Samurai.
- Star Wars: Darth Vader's character design was heavily based off samurai armor.
- Samurai Purinsesu: Gedō-hime. She's actually more of a Ninja, but still takes the name of Samurai.
- Attempted with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III. The fact that it was a Franchise Killer indicates it wasn't enough.
- Not used or invoked in the film itself, but Gareth Edwards, director of Godzilla (2014), has said that if this incarnation of Godzilla were a human, he would be "the last samurai".
Gareth Edwards: He's an ancient warrior who's the last of his kind, and his kind has long since died out. He lives a very solitary lonely existence and he's very happy to keep away from everyone, but we keep doing things to force him to return and put things right.
- Though Neal Stephenson's series The Baroque Cycle takes place mostly in 17th century Europe, it features Gabriel Goto, a Japanese Jesuit who just happens to be deadly with a katana. In all fairness, the series features characters from just about everywhere and most of them are badasses.
- There's also get a randomly-placed samurai in St. Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman.
- James Bond encounters Ernst Stavro Blofeld, calling himself "Dr. Guntram Shatterhand", for the final time in You Only Live Twice, who wears samurai armour in his "Garden of Death" to avoid getting pricked by a poisonous thorns or fall victim to similar fates as its suicidal visitors.
- Power Rangers
- The Sixth Ranger of Power Rangers Ninja Storm is called the Samurai Ranger (the Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger version, however, is a ninja like the rest of the team).
- Samurai are, obviously, the theme of Samurai Sentai Shinkenger and Power Rangers Samurai.
- There was also the Samurai Fan Man monster in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.
- There is also an actual samurai from the Sengoku period of Japan going by the name of Utsusemimaru/Kyoryu Gold in Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger.
- In Kamen Rider Gaim, Gaim himself and the main antagonist Rider, Zangetsu, are both modeled on samurai. A third Rider, Kurokage, is also based on a feudal Japanese warrior, though a soldier that would serve under a samurai rather than a samurai itself. Once the original Kurokage is killed off, the gear is even duplicated and Zangetsu gets Kurokage Mooks.
- John Belushi as Samurai Fatubi in Saturday Night Live.
- Tales of the Gold Monkey has Todo, Princess Koji's Samurai henchman.
- Highlander has the episode "The Samurai", where Duncan is shown to have been secretly mentored by a samurai during Japan's isolationist period. When it was discovered, the samurai commited ritual suicide and gave Duncan his sword.
- Bare Naked Ladies. In their song "One Week", mention is made to this mentality. "Kay I don't make films, but if I did, they'd have a samurai."
- Gakupo from Vocaloids is a Dancing Samurai.
- Hodgy Beats of OFWGKTA has a song titled "Samurai" on his Untitled EP
- Verdena's third album "Il Suicidio Dei Samurai" ("The Suicide Of The Samurai") and its final song.
- The music video to "Sonne" by Farin Urlaub. The lyrics just imply he lost his girlfriend (with no reference to Japan at all), the video interprets it as she has been murdered by the samurai competition and he's out for vengeance. And it's awesome.note
- Perhaps thinking too literally, but many Japanese wrestling feds rely on Samurai! TV to showcase their product. So, in essence, many things are better with samurai.
- Legendary in England (or at least to those who care about pro wrestling 1960s\70s England), The Masked Samurai, Kendo Nagasaki! He's also known up in the Canadian Stampede promotion and the Japanese RJPW. He wore full kendo gear in addition to his completely concealing mask and even had a (blunt) sword!
- Hiro Matsuda was nicknamed "Mr. Samurai" in the 1970s when he was in Championship Wrestling From Florida.
- All Japan Pro Wrestling trainee Shiro Koshinaka was known as Samurai Shiro during his stays in CMLL and later, Pro Wrestling Zero 1 in the new millennium.
- In 1987 CWF would be at it again, along with Jim Crocket Promotions, featuring the Samurai Warriors #s 1 and 2.
- CMLL had two brothers with the gimmick of Guerrero Samurai. The second one took the first's place after his unfortunate passing in 1990.
- New Japan Pro Wrestling trainee and Universal Wrestling Federation Japan booker Shinji Sasazaki was simply known as "Samurai" in Jerry Lawler's Championship Wrestling Association. Ironically, NJPW had a gaijin simply known as Samurai Warrior around the same time.
- NJPW trainee Osamu Matsuda took up the helmet and gimmick of "El Samurai" in 1991 while wrestling in Universal Wrestling Association (well, Lucha Libre Internacional, which was functionally the same thing). He'd later take the gimmick back to his native Japan and start the Samurai Gym with Ryusuke Taguchi, Tetsuya Naito and Yujiro.
- Dirty White Boy's nemesis and the 1994 Smokey Mountain Wrestling television champion, Kendo The Samurai.
- Trained by TAKA Michinoku out of the Kaientai Dojo and seen among Dramatic Dream Team, Pro Wrestling Zero 1 and perhaps most appropriately, Big Japan(least appropriately in Ice Ribbon), Isami Kodaka is known as "The Death Match Samurai" and even carries a (sheathed) samurai sword.
- His name may be spelled with a Y but everyone knows a certain Gran Apache student by Samuray Del Sol because of this trope.
- Último Samurai has two stereotypical samurai ponytails woven into his mask.
- A regularly seen face around the UK, especially the Scottish Wrestling Alliance, or maybe not considering he's usually wearing a helmet, Black Samurai Jr.
- AJPW stable "Samurai Japan" ironically only had one Japanese man in it, MAZADA. AKIYOSHI (also known as Super Kendo) and YAMADA were from the Dominican Republic, while TANAKA was Mexican.
- Dave Kobayashi and Jamie D, "The Samurai Pizza Cats" of the UK's Wrestling Association of Rugby.
- TVW's New Orient Express tag team, Super Samurai Warrior and Super Samurai Warrior #2.
- Jimi Mayhem, Vendetta Pro Wrestling's Shogun Of Harlem. Is he an example of this trope? "Sho'nuff!"
- Wonder Rings Stardom wrestler Act Yasukawa has a modern day samurai gimmick based on the fact her previous sport was kendo.
- Debuting in 2012 for the German Wrestling Federation and later, the Mad Wrestling Association in Lübeck, Schleswig-Holstein was Zero Samurai, before he took up the Franz Engel gimmick later.
- A masked luchador known as Dragón Samurai popped up around Celaya, Guanajuato Mexico in 2014. His age and skill suggests he's been at it for quite awhile though...
- Mutant Chronicles, the Mishima Mega Corp. is a Feudal Japan in Mercury, they have Samurai units who strictly follow the Bushido code to the letter.
- BattleTech features samurai themed battlemechs in the Draconis Combine, and they come with mech sized katanas.
- Warhammer 40,000}: The Craftworld Eldar have curved swords, naginata-like polearms and guns that fire monomolecular shuriken, and some of their warriors, such as Prince Yriel, have back-banners, as do wraithlords. The Path system in their society also bears a number of similarities to the tenets of Bushido. If that wasn't enough, they view humans as hairy barbarian upstarts and isolate themselves on their planetoid-sized colony ships.
- Sanjuro in .hack. Despite having little bearing on the plot, a popular character who was added to the .hack//Legend of the Twilight anime.
- Sanger (and Wodan?) in Super Robot Wars. Also a very popular character. Even draws a katana during his attack animations, despite attacking with a BFS (he uses a Motion Capture Mecha).
- Kai in Luminous Arc. This is strange since the entire world is western, and he fights in a unit full of more convectional medieval soldiers. To increase his relationship values you have to answer his questions with stuff that corresponds to the Bushido. Mel, the Torrent Witch, is a big fan of samurai... to say the least.
- Final Fantasy
- Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy Tactics both have Samurai jobs despite having no Japan-like area. FFT's Samurai has an absurdly broken ability called Blade Grasp, which pretty much makes you a Physical God (FFV also has it, but it isn't as broken as the FFT version). Final Fantasy VI also has Cyan, who has a distinct samurai vibe (and katanas in spite of his very European looks, armor, and nation.
- Final Fantasy X mostly has a Pacific island feel for its characters, with a Goth and a tribal beastman thrown in. Then there's Auron, who's a walking gallery of ronin imagery to go along with all those Bad Ass tropes. And don't forget Yojimbo.
- Valkyrie Profile, despite being based on Norse Mythology, has Samurai and a whole counterpart of Japan for good measure.
- Age of Empires
- Kamui of Arcana Heart, who fulfills the Moe samurai-girl quota of the Widget Series.
- In Mega Man X6, the player has the option of assembling the Blade Armor which resembles a suit of Samurai armor, complete with Z-saber.
- The Wizardry games included samurai and ninja both as enemies and available character classes. Both were considered "elite" classes with high requirements for changing to, and both were flat-out superior to plain old fighters. Interestingly, Wizardry was also far more popular in Japan than similar game series.
- In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, the Blades (or rather, the ineffectual royal-guard sub-set) take their armor style from the continent of Akavir, mimicking Reman Cyrodiil's original Akavari bodyguard. Their lavishly decorated armor is highly reminiscent of samurai or ashigaru armor, they fight with katana, and their fortress is a "temple" high in the mountains that looks for all the world like a Japanese castle. Keep in mind that the rest of the province Cyrodiil is based off of medieval Europe and the Roman Empire.
- The Orcish Armor set in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is stylized after samurai armor, which is odd, as the Orcs otherwise have little in common with feudal Japan. The look does make it the perfect match for any of the "Akaviri-styled" swords (katanas, dai-katanas, wakizashis and tantos), however.
- Touhou Project
- Youmu sports a pair of katanas despite Touhou Project being mostly a Bullet Hell genre. She projects a following of the Bushido code, essentially being Yuyuko's samurai. Must be mentioned that her sword is highly capable of spewing bullets and slowing time.
- Also Meira, but she was only seen in Touhou 2 and never returned.
- Fallout 3 expansion "Mothership Zeta" has a Samurai abducted from ancient Japan and awakened from cryogenic suspended animation.
- The Unreal universe has a corporate faction, the Izanagi, who go into battle with heavily Samurai-themed armour.
- The penultimate boss of BlazBlue is Hakumen, a Cyborg Zombie Samurai.
- The Kirby games' "Quick Draw" minigame have the characters dressed as samurai. (Though earlier English translations replaced samurai with cowboys, turning a Single-Stroke Battle into a wild west shootout.)
- In Pokémon, the starter Oshawott's entire evolutionary line is based around samurai—Oshawott is either a wannabe samurai or an inexperienced apprentice, Dewott is either a ronin, an apprentice, or a normal samurai, and Samurott not only has samurai in its name, but it is likely based on a daimyo, or samurai warlord. The best part? THEY USE THEIR SHELLS AS SWORDS.
- The old and mostly forgotten First Samurai bilogy of platform games. The title is also a pun on The Last Ninja series of games.
- The female protagonist of Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love is Gemini Sunrise, a cowgirl samurai.
- Neo Contra has Jaguar, an alien samurai.
- Shin Megami Tensei IV's four main characters all are Samurai prentices.
- There's a hero in Defense Of The Ancients called Yurnero. His official class is The Juggernaut, but due to having an Orc Blademaster model, he's instead portrayed like a Samurai. And it is awesome. Even with the Orc affiliation removed come Dota 2, Yurnero is still samurai-like and he is still awesome.
- Every installment of the Rhythm Heaven series so far has had at least one minigame featuring a character known as the Wandering Samurai, whose levels involve defending a village from tengu, attacking demons that appear from a portal, and slicing watermelons.
- He also makes a guest appearance in one of the Gamer Microgames in Game & Wario, where he apparently found work at a fish processing factory.
- Sega's arcade Fighting Game Burning Rival has a samurai fighter, Ghost Shingen, whose helmet and armor are possessed by the soul of an ancient samurai named Shingen Yagyu.
- The Neo Geo Beat 'em Up Burning Fight has a Boss Battle with a samurai named Nitou Ryuji, who wields a katana in each hand.
- The Show Within a Show The Steel Samurai in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. Note that in the original version, Gyakuten Saiban, the Show Within a Show was not about a samurai, but rather, a feudal lord-based superhero known as "Soldier of Oedo, Tonosaman".
- Fate/stay night has a samurai for the Assassin class. And no, it doesn't suit him in the slightest. He does no sneak attacks, no dirty fighting, doesn't go for Masters like he is supposed to when he has the chance, and finally he is the only Japanese hero amongst all the Servants. The rest of them? Greeks, Celts and English make up over half the Servants and he is an Arab. He wasn't even supposed to be here at all. Also, he's a better swordsman than Saber and even Lancer doesn't want to fight him.
- At one point in Issue #10 of Teen Girl Squad, a tiny samurai jumps out of a pile of corn during their school cafeteria's "Corn and Corn Alone Day," proclaiming that "Corn is no place for a mighty warrior." Don't ask.
- Ulrich Stern in Code Lyoko takes the form of a samurai when he's virtualized.
- The gratuitous (but cool) "Blind Nigga Samurai" sequence in The Boondocks.
- Samurai (heh) of the Superfriends.
- Naturally enough, when an episode of Gargoyles was set in (modern day) Japan, what code would the gargoyle clan found protecting a village there follow but bushido?
- Thunder Cats has Hachiman, a samurai Mumra brought to Third Earth to defeat Lion-o, but who would become an occasional ally of the Thundercats.
- Dexter's Laboratory : Sam-R-I of the Justice Friends.
- The Cheese Shogun in Codename: Kids Next Door, though he has ninjas for minions.